• Open Access

Loss of the Birt–Hogg–Dubé gene product folliculin induces longevity in a hypoxia-inducible factor–dependent manner

Authors

  • Hakam Gharbi,

    1. Department 2 of Internal Medicine and Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
    2. Cologne Excellence Cluster on Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
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  • Francesca Fabretti,

    1. Department 2 of Internal Medicine and Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
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  • Puneet Bharill,

    1. Department 2 of Internal Medicine and Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
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  • Markus M. Rinschen,

    1. Department 2 of Internal Medicine and Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
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  • Sibylle Brinkkötter,

    1. Department 2 of Internal Medicine and Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
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  • Peter Frommolt,

    1. Cologne Excellence Cluster on Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
    2. Cologne Center for Genomics, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
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  • Volker Burst,

    1. Department 2 of Internal Medicine and Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
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  • Bernhard Schermer,

    1. Department 2 of Internal Medicine and Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
    2. Cologne Excellence Cluster on Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
    3. Systems Biology of Ageing Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
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  • Thomas Benzing,

    1. Department 2 of Internal Medicine and Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
    2. Cologne Excellence Cluster on Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
    3. Systems Biology of Ageing Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
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  • Roman-Ulrich Müller

    Corresponding author
    1. Cologne Excellence Cluster on Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
    2. Systems Biology of Ageing Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
    • Department 2 of Internal Medicine and Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
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  • Hakam Gharbi and Francesca Fabretti contributed equally to this work.

Correspondence

Dr. Roman-Ulrich Müller, Department 2 of Internal Medicine, University of Cologne, Kerpener Str. 62, 50937 Cologne, Germany. Tel.: 0049 221 478 4480; fax: 0049 221 478 89041; e-mail: roman-ulrich.mueller@uk-koeln.de

Summary

Signaling through the hypoxia-inducible factor hif-1 controls longevity, metabolism, and stress resistance in Caenorhabditis elegans. Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) protein levels are regulated through an evolutionarily conserved ubiquitin ligase complex. Mutations in the VHL gene, encoding a core component of this complex, cause a multitumor syndrome and renal cell carcinoma in humans. In the nematode, deficiency in vhl-1 promotes longevity mediated through HIF-1 stabilization. However, this longevity assurance pathway is not yet understood. Here, we identify folliculin (FLCN) as a novel interactor of the hif-1/vhl-1 longevity pathway. FLCN mutations cause Birt–Hogg–Dubé syndrome in humans, another tumor syndrome with renal tumorigenesis reminiscent of the VHL disease. Loss of the C. elegans ortholog of FLCN F22D3.2 significantly increased lifespan and enhanced stress resistance in a hif-1-dependent manner. F22D3.2, vhl-1, and hif-1 control longevity by a mechanism distinct from insulin-like signaling. Daf-16 deficiency did not abrogate the increase in lifespan mediated by flcn-1. These findings define FLCN as a player in HIF-dependent longevity signaling and connect organismal aging, stress resistance, and regulation of longevity with the formation of renal cell carcinoma.

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